Next Meeting Mon. July 20
Our Next Meeting: Monday, July 20, 2009, 7 p.m. -- Preparing Search Tools for the 1940 Census (2-hour program)
The speaker will be Joel Weintraub who will discuss the upcoming availability of 1940 census data in 2012 and why we wait 72 years to see a census. He’ll also talk about various search tools that will be needed to find people and what’s in the works to make things easier. These tools can be used right now to find people in the 1880 through 1930 censuses.
Joel’s talk will be in two 50-minutes segments, with a brief break.
Joel is an emeritus biology professor at Cal State Fullerton. He became interested in genealogy about 12 years ago and regularly volunteers at the National Archives (NARA) in Laguna Niguel. Joel started transcribing streets within census districts in 2001 to help researchers search the 1930 U.S. census released in 2002.
So mark your calendar for Monday evening, July 20 at 7 p.m.
From recent Avotaynu e-zines edited by Gary Mokotoff:
Ellis Island Videos on YouTube
There are a number of original films of the Ellis Island experience on YouTube.com. Search for “Ellis Island Immigration.” One of the more interesting ones, taken in May 1909, is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8bPDdNRoxc There is also a 29-minute documentary at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4wzVuXPznk.
New Web Site Information -- Censuses of Scotland
ScotlandsPeople, located at http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/, claims to be the only site to have complete Scottish census records from 1841–1901. It includes both an index as well as the actual images. This fee-for-service site also has birth, marriage and death records.
United Synagogue Marriage Authorisation Index has been updated by an additional two years and now identifies records from 17th February 1880 to the 31st December 1891. The index contains 8,236 records for England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. It is located at http://www.theus.org.uk/support_services/find_your_family/marriage_records. It is updated whenever an additional year is indexed.
Contemporary Maps of Hungary, Slovakia and Romania. It was reported on various JewishGen SIG Discussion groups that there are detailed contemporary maps of Hungary, Slovakia and Romania at http://www.hiszi-map.hu/catalog/index.php. The maps include small towns and villages. Geographic markers (roads, bridges, streams, wooded areas) as well as inhabited areas and cemetery locations are shown.
Commentary About Identity Theft and Homeland Security
More and more U.S. government offices holding records of value to family history research are using the pretext of identity theft and homeland security as an excuse to prevent family historians from accessing records of their ancestors.
Recently a professional genealogist went to the New York City Department of Health with a court order requesting the birth record of a deceased person. She was denied a copy of the record because she did not know the given names of the decedent’s parents. The purpose of the court order was to determine the parents’ names.
Dick Eastman, in his daily e-zine on genealogy, addressed the subject. It can be read at http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2009/07/preventing-identity-theft-with-the-ssdi.html
Latvian Jewish Records Now Online
The State Archives of Latvia is placing digitized images of Jewish vital records at their genealogy website. They include the towns of Aizputes, Bauskas, Daugavpils, Glazmankas, Grīvas, Grobiņas, Ilūkstes, Jaunjelgavas, Jēkabpils, Jelgavas, Kuldīgas, Liepājas, Ludzas, Maltas, Piltenes, Rēzeknes, Ribinišku, Rīgas, Sabiles, Saldus, Sasmakas, Skaistkalnes, Subates, Tukuma, Varakļānu, Ventspils, Viļakas and Višķu.
To use the site requires that a user first register. Go to the home page at http://www.lvva-raduraksti.lv/en.html and click Register in the upper right corner. Once registered, a shortcut directly to the Jewish (Rabināti) records is http://www.lvva-raduraksti.lv/en/menu/lv/7/ig/7 .html. Click on the town of interest and a list by year and record type is displayed. Records are identified by type: dzimušie (birth), laulātie (marriage), mirušie (death), šķirtie (divorce). Browse the digitized images by clicking the arrows in the upper right corner; you can also zoom in on an image.
The project currently has more than 3.8 million images online of vital records of all faiths. Plans call for digitizing revision lists (censuses) of 18th–19th centuries (1782–1858), and those portions of the All-Russia census on 1897 that survived.
Estonian Records Online
The State Archives of Latvia referred to a project of the Estonian State Archives to place digitized images online. It does not include Jewish vital records but does appear to include revision lists, 1782–1858. The site is at http://www.ra.ee/dgs/explorer.php
Prague Conscription (Residence) Records Up to the Letter “O”
The Prague National Archive project to index their conscription records (1850–1914) now has 1.1 million entries. Conscription records are residence permits issued at the Prague police headquarters for the Prague region. The names are being indexed alphabetically and now include those starting with the letter “O.”
The entries include the name of the head of household, followed by the name of wife, children and other relatives with whom the family shared the residence, date of registration, number of the house, and job of the head of household. It may include year and place of birth, religion and, in case of a married woman, her maiden name. The sheet may also contain entries concerning marriages and deaths.
The records are located at http://digi.nacr.cz/prihlasky2/indexen.php.
List of People Expelled from the University of Vienna in 1938
JewishGen reported that the University of Vienna has published a database of 2,700 persons, mostly Jews, who were discharged or expelled in 1938. Among these persons are professors, students and university employees. The database is available at http://gedenkbuch.univie.ac.at.
Lost Wooden Synagogues of Eastern Europe Now on CD
Among the many tragedies of the Holocaust was the fact that the wooden synagogues of Eastern Europe—some 1,000 structures—were systematically burned to the ground. A few of these magnificent structures survived and a group has documented them, as well as the history of these synagogues in a recording titled Lost Wooden Synagogues of Eastern Europe. Originally only on video tape, it is now on CD.
The 48-minute video narrated by Theodore Bikel includes photos of many of the famous wooden synagogues of the past and file footage of Jewish life before the Holocaust. It also documents a trip to Lithuania to film the few (abandoned) remaining wooden synagogues there. Order through http://www.avotaynu.com/books/synagogues.htm. Cost is $25 plus shipping.
From the newsletter of the Conejo Valley (Ventura County) JGS:
“Jews in Mexico” is how Jorge Gonzales titles his story of finding and connecting with two “lantsmen” <sic> in Mexico. Jorge presented his story at the June 7 “Successes and Roadblocks” JGS meeting. It should be an inspiration for all.
My wife and I went to Mexico for our annual “Mexican vacation.” On February 13, 2009,
we loaded our pick-up, and packed some snacks for our adventure. We traveled to Tequila,
Jalisco (about 34 hours driving). Besides the beautiful scenery, buildings, archeological sites
and awesome food, I was determined (my wife calls it obsessed) to find out if there were any
descendants of the Jews in the smaller towns of Mexico. In Mexico City there are around
15,000 Jews but they are from Ashkenazi roots, and the same in Guadalajara.
For the first nine days, I came up empty-handed. But on February 23, after traveling to several small towns and cities, we arrived in the beautiful city of Uruapan, Michoacan. As we were checking into the hotel, my wife said to me “look at the ceiling, there are your Jewish stars.” I looked up and saw two beautiful Stars of David in the center of the chandeliers. I asked the hotel front desk if by any chance the owner was Jewish, she said: No, he is Catholic.”
Later I asked the valet the same question and he said: “He is not Jewish, he is Mexican.” After more questions he described the owner as a Hassidic rabbi. Early that evening we met a gentleman with features similar to the hotel owner. I greeted him with, “Shalom, mash lom ha?” He just looked at me and waved. At this point I was happy because I thought that I had run into a fellow Jew.
About 9 p.m. I noticed a man selling paintings. He approached me and said, “This is going to sound weird, please don’t think that I am crazy, but by any chance are you of Jewish descent?” I asked him why. He said, “I just feel a calling of the Blood!” I asked, “What do you mean?” He said, “My grandparents were Jewish. They kept Shabbats,prayed Siddur, lit candles on Shabbats and wore Tallit. So, if they were Jewish, I guess that it makes me Jewish also, ah?”
At this point I didn’t tell him that I am Jewish but asked him about his grandparents. He told me they could trace their roots prior to the Inquisition, and they sought refuge in smaller towns for fear of being persecuted. They moved from town to town, and even changed their last names. They ended up in a town called Cotija, Michoacan. His parents moved to the town of Uruapan, and his mother, not knowing much about Judaism, raised them Catholic. He said that he wants to return to Judaism, but in this town the closest that he can get is messianic Judaism. I told him that yes I was Jewish, and I showed him my Star of David necklace. He became very happy, and asked me questions
about Judaism, which I promptly answered. He asked me if I wore a kippa, and I told him yes. I showed him my kippa that I carried on my pocket, and he got so excited. I told him that I had an extra in my pick-up, and would be more than happy to give it to him tomorrow.
The next day, as we were eating breakfast the other man (the one that fit the description of the owner) showed up. I asked him if he was the owner, and if he was Jewish. He said he was not the owner, and he was not Jewish – just another traveler. He said that the day before when I said, “Shalom, mash lom ja?”, somehow he knew that I was greeting him. He told me that he had been asked before if he was Jewish, but always replied that he is Mexican. Just out of curiosity I asked him if he knew his ancestry, and he said that yes his grandparents were from Italy. As we were leaving the hotel, my friend Miguel showed up, and I gave him the promised kippa. Immediately he put iton and tears fell down his cheeks. He was so happy to be wearing something really Jewish. I asked my wife to snap a picture.
As we were saying good-bye, the man I encountered in the restaurant earlier was leaving also. In my heart I knew that somehow three Mexican Jews had crossed paths, on that day. Driving back to my parents’ town I noticed the sign posted on the back of the trailer I was following. The very clear Hebrew letters read “ISRAEL”, made in Guadalajara, Jalisco. Automatically, overwhelmed I said, “Shema Israel Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai echod, Baruch shem k vod malchto l’olam va ed.”
See You Monday evening, July 20